Minister of Environment Launches Greening the South Initiative
The Lebanese Minister of Environment Mr. Mohammad Machnouk, today paid a visit to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Naqoura where he was received by UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano.
The purpose of the visit was to launch the 'Greening the South Initiative', a project that aims to plant approximately 200,000 trees in south Lebanon to promote sustainable environmental conservation.
Major- General Portolano emphasized the great importance that UNIFIL attaches to increasing the environmental sustainability of its operations and enhancing its relations with the local population to ensure a sustainable environment.
Minister Machnouk and Major-General Portolano launched the project by planting the first tree at the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura.
Major-General Portolano said: "UNIFIL is committed to avoiding, reducing and mitigating any negative impact on humans and on the environment, which might result from the mission's operations. Our cooperation with the Ministry of Environment is very active and ongoing."
After the launch Minister Mohammad Machnouk said: "UNIFIL officers with the help of the local authorities are contributing to resolving a lot of environmental issues, including tree plantation, treatment of waste water, solar power, etc. We appreciate this role and what the UN is doing."
"We hope to plant as much as 300,000 trees across the southern towns, in cooperation with UNIFIL as well as the local administrations and unions of municipalities. We will also cooperate more in terms of water treatment and solid waste treatment," the Minister of Environment added.
The project, the first of its kind in the south, is an initiative of UNIFIL Civil Affairs in coordination with the Ministry of Environment. Under the initiative a total of 100,000 trees will be planted in UNIFIL AO this year alone. Five Unions of municipalities will participate: Arqub, Jabal Amel, Qalaa, Tyre, and Bint Jbeil municipalities. In the second year of the project a total of 100,000 trees will be planted in the municipalities while approximately 2,000 trees will be planted in different UNIFIL bases.